I was very actively involved in student council when I was in high school, and we frequently took trips to State Conferences around the state. At the State Conference my senior year there was a guest speaker that had a very powerful message.
He told a story about a time when he made a button with the words “I am number two” written on it. He went about his day with this bright yellow button pinned to his shirt. Many people just gave him strange looks, but one woman asked him, very seriously, “all right, if you are number two, then who is number one?” He beamed at her and answered with a wink, “You are.” All of us student council kids went wild. It was such a brilliant idea that pushed the concept of putting others before yourself.After some thought on this topic, though, I’ve decided it is a wonderful concept for teenagers that are confident and sure of themselves, but to tell every teen and preteen to wear a button blatantly stating that they are number two, could be a major blow to their self-esteem. So, I’ve come up with a slight modification:
Be number one in your head and number two in your heart.
Being Number One in Your Head
Self-confidence is absolutely important for people of every age, but I’ve found that it is critically important during tween and teenage years. Without self-confidence success in school, making friends, and (probably most importantly) having a boyfriend/girlfriend is difficult. I cannot express how critically important it is for you to love yourself for who you are. You were made perfect the way you are for the specific purpose for which you were put on this Earth. Inside that little mind of yours think to yourself that you are number one, but please don’t get me wrong. I’m not asking you to be massively cocky; I’m encouraging you to be positively confident.
“Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.”
–Malcolm S. Forbes
Being Number Two in Your Heart
True selflessness can come only after you have accepted to love yourself. How can you expect to pour love into other people if you don’t know what love is within yourself? Anyways, if you have accepted yourself, find your heart (it’s that organ that you know, keeps you alive, located in the left side of your chest) and metaphorically pin a little button labeled “I am number two” on it. Just like self-confidence is important, “loving thy neighbor as thyself” is also tremendously serious business.
So whether you plan on making a bright yellow button and wearing it around, or if you just plan to metaphorically wear it on your heart and mind, always remember to be number one in your mind and number two in your heart.
Rachel Williams is a college freshman at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico majoring in International Studies. Originally from Kirtland, New Mexico, Rachel was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of New Mexico for 2011. Learn more about Rachel here!